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Open Access Health Benefits of Culinary Herbs and Spices

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Spices and herbs have been in use for centuries both for culinary and medicinal purposes. Spices not only enhance the flavor, aroma, and color of food and beverages, but they can also protect from acute and chronic diseases. More Americans are considering the use of spices and herbs for medicinal and therapeutic/remedy use, especially for various chronic conditions. There is now ample evidence that spices and herbs possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic, anticarcinogenic, and glucose- and cholesterol-lowering activities as well as properties that affect cognition and mood. Research over the past decade has reported on the diverse range of health properties that they possess via their bioactive constituents, including sulfur-containing compounds, tannins, alkaloids, phenolic diterpenes, and vitamins, especially flavonoids and polyphenols. Spices and herbs such as clove, rosemary, sage, oregano, and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants with their high content of phenolic compounds. It is evident that frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer and ischemic heart and respiratory system diseases. However, the actual role of spices and herbs in the maintenance of health, specifically with regards to protecting against the development of chronic, noncommunicable diseases, is currently unclear. This review highlights potential health benefits of commonly used spices and herbs such as chili pepper, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, turmeric, fenugreek, rosemary, and garlic.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Nouritek International LLC, Timonium, MD 21093

Publication date: March 1, 2019

This article was made available online on January 16, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Health Benefits of Culinary Herbs and Spices".

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  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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